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Sony: PS3 Core = $500, Deluxe = $600, World = Sad

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Monday, May 8, 2006
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Back in March when Sony announced the delay of the PlayStation 3 to late 2006, our comment was simple: it doesn’t matter, at least, at the right price. Unfortunately, in one of those “it’s a Sony” moves, the company this evening announced that it will be shipping two versions of the PlayStation 3 console in November, starting at a crazy high price of $500, and moving up to $600 if you want a bunch of features (WiFi, HDMI, and flash memory card slots) that were supposed to be in the lower-priced version. And it also unveiled a bunch of games that really don’t look very good - certainly not $100-200 better than Xbox 360 level good.

That’s not really the whole story. The $500 console now comes with a 20GB hard disk, and the $600 version comes with a 60GB hard disk. Both come with one Sony DualShock 3 controller, which looks almost exactly like its predecessors, but - thanks to Sony’s loss of a patent lawsuit - missing the “shock” vibration feature that gave them their names, and now featuring an axis and motion detecting technology inside, a la Nintendo’s Wii controller. They’ll be sold in “clear black” to start, with other colors to follow later.

Our prediction is that, absent some major change between now and November, the PS3 either dies a horrible death in stores, or achieves faux sell-outs simply by virtue of “shortages” that mysteriously posit a million or fewer consoles in each of several major territories. We will not be standing in line for this one, and for obvious reasons would not advise you to do so, either. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 just became a whole lot more attractive.

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Comments

1

Man, did Sony screw this one up! All they had to do was come out with one console: give it a 30GB HDD, an optical drive that can play Blu-Ray discs and is backwards compatible for other DVD’s, WiFi and SD/MemoryStick/Compact Flash capability. Keep the price at $400.00 US or less and they would’ve smoked Microsoft. At $600.00 US, I can go out and buy an Apple Mac Mini that gives me all of the features of a computer AND plays games(minus the Blu-Ray ability). I feel for Sony. They have just not been making great decisions lately. Now would be the perfect time for Steve and the engineering team at Apple to release a kick-a$$ gaming console!

Posted by viperteq on May 8, 2006 at 10:11 PM (PDT)

2

i don’t see anything wrong in the controllers “looking the same,” if its not broken don’t fix it.  xbox’s controller was horrendous, im glad they were able to address the issue with the much slimmer xbox360 controller.  and im not sure how ps3’s launch titles “don’t look very good.”  vision gran turismo, metal gear solid 4, tekken, final fantasy, killzone.. even if they don’t launch with the system, those are some pretty popular and successful franchises exclusive to playstation.  i’m not saying xbox360 titles are lacking, but the only title to match those of ps3 that i can name of are the halo series.  some pretty bold predictions, very well written, although feels like the author has some sort of bias against sony products.

Posted by hallo on May 9, 2006 at 1:26 AM (PDT)

3

are you saying you like the boomerang?

i for one LOVE the motion sensing

oh and DID YOU KNOW that you are getting a bluray drive FOR HALF AS MUCH as a regular bluray drive?

Posted by Pat on May 9, 2006 at 4:17 AM (PDT)

4

I don’t trust the site that broke this news, as I don’t see any press release from Sony as their source, nor do I see any other sites jumping on the news. If this is true, then it’s a sad day for Sony, as they just boosted Microsoft’s lead in the console wars, domestically and in Japan. Now, if Microsoft can get Square Enix on board for the next Final Fantasy series… ^^.

Posted by Matt Goebel on May 9, 2006 at 4:20 AM (PDT)

5

It’s on Engadget, plus I have the PDF from Sony that has the same exact details.

Posted by Angel on May 9, 2006 at 4:56 AM (PDT)

6

It really doesn’t matter if it has a Blue-Ray disc.  That’s just a bonus.  People aren’t buying the PS3 for Blue-Ray, they are buying it to play games.  Many people didn’t use the DVD player on the PS2, they had a separate DVD, and they just used it for gaming, which is why it was released.  Even though it has Blue-Ray, that was their choice for their gaming system, it shouldn’t make the PS3 a huge increase to those people that just want a gaming device…

Posted by Michael on May 9, 2006 at 6:26 AM (PDT)

7

The news was released in the E3 expo; it will be released in Japan November 11th, and worldwide at 18th.

Its damn expensive, but I still feel compelled to buy one.  But I guess thats because Im such a fan of PS2.

Saying that, I will DEFINITELY be queuing for Wii - but to get both would be insane…no? *ahem*

Posted by Parvez on May 9, 2006 at 6:34 AM (PDT)

8

“final fantasy… even if they don’t launch with the system, those are some pretty popular and successful franchises exclusive to playstation. ” 

Exclusive as in also on Nintendo, cell phones, PCs, DVDs etc?

Posted by Dan (papayaninja) on May 9, 2006 at 10:26 AM (PDT)

9

“are you saying you like the boomerang?”

that was a concept model, look around, the actual controller is identical to ps2’s, with some ergonomical changes.

“Exclusive as in also on Nintendo, cell phones, PCs, DVDs etc?”

i think for the most part final fantasy has found its success on the playstation, thats why i considered it exclusive to playstation.  if by DVD you mean Advent Children, that’s a completely different market.  but even then, remember Advent Children is a “sequel” of sorts to FF7 which was released on PSone.  Final Fantasy’s origins are from nintendo, but since then they haven’t found too much success in terms of sales outside of the playstation.  but still, doesn’t it seem like nintendo and sony have different perspectives toward the future of video games… its hard to compare the two.  i believe right now for sony its competition is microsoft, not so much nintendo, wouldnt you agree?

Posted by hallo on May 9, 2006 at 12:11 PM (PDT)

10

I suppose.  DVD was a dumb argument.  But FF Tactics Advanced is one of my favorite FF games, and I own FFVII for PC. 

As far as competition, yes.  But I think Nintendo has a better outlook, because eventually, things will be different.  Who needs a Wiimote when you have a Dual Shock that works just fine?  IMO that’s like saying “Who needs a calculator when you have an abacus?”  New things will always take a while to get used to.  But next gen (Xbox 3, PS4 etc…) will all have motion sensors if the Wii and PS3 do okay.  There’s no reason for them not to.

Posted by Dan (papayaninja) on May 9, 2006 at 12:49 PM (PDT)

11

Sony has used the motion sensor technology years ago in an accessory for the PS2. It was something like a headphone-glass with projects the image in two tiny LCDs. The image was horrible, there was a game that simulates something like a fight jet and the sensor simulates the sensor that the pilots have on their ultra tech helmets. When you move your head to the right the images turn to the right side viewed from the cockpit etc. it was really amazing.

Posted by wilson on May 10, 2006 at 6:46 AM (PDT)

12

This pricing only makes sense if you look at it this way: “Hey, I’ve already got a HD TV and surround setup, and I want to get one of those expensive new Blu-Ray machines anyway - I’m getting this one because it ALSO plays PS1/PS2/PS3 games!!”. As a home theater pwner, the PS3 looks like a reasonable entry into Blu-Ray HD.

But Sony really should have made a version that dropped the Blu-Ray for a standard DVD. Priced it at $300, and made that the alternative to the $600 model. One model focused on gamers, and the other on HT enthusiasts. The $300 model could have competed with the XBox 360 (which surely will have been price-dropped to $350 or $300 by the time the PS3 ships), and the $600 could have competed with the 360 + the HD-DVD add-on.

Basically, Sony screwed up. Again. If I worked for the MS XBox division I’d be partying right now…

Posted by Fangorn in Texas on May 10, 2006 at 10:34 AM (PDT)

13

I can’t believe I actually mispelled “owner” as “pwner” in that last post. How embarassing…

Posted by Fangorn in Texas on May 10, 2006 at 10:36 AM (PDT)

14

A buddy of mine at the evil M$ had said that the price on 360 will drop $80 ($219) for the Core and $100 ($299) the the premium in October. They will also have the HD-DVD and 100GB hard drives at that time.

More reasons if the price for PS3 is right, it’s just a plain stupid price point!

Posted by Mike on May 11, 2006 at 12:14 PM (PDT)

15

wow…sony just put me of the PS3….seem slike they’re trying to steal other companies’ thunder. and even though i very much disliek the 360….for this price u can buy a 360 AND a nintendo wii….there’s no justification for this high price at all.
Dan x

Posted by spooky2k on May 12, 2006 at 1:29 AM (PDT)

16

well.. there is justification if all the hype that they’ve built up ends up being true.. theres a ton of new technology in the ps3 (cell processing, blu-ray)

but after watching so many videos of e3 coverage, i really really want a wii now, it looks crazy fun

Posted by hallo on May 12, 2006 at 10:07 AM (PDT)

17

Uh, Fangorn.  The lower model with a DVD only concept would work if the games didn’t come on Blu-Ray discs…

Posted by Dan (papayaninja) on May 13, 2006 at 1:03 PM (PDT)

18

im gunna retract my last comment.
Looking at US $ prices messes with the head. It works out here aroudn the same as i paid for my ps2 on launch. So i say, what the hell? people are only saying this is too expensive, cos nintendo’s console is cheaper, and microsofots is cheaper too. well, i bet when ps3 has been out a year, it’ll be the same price as xbox 360 is right now. and nintendo’s console is no where near a technological as the ps3.
Nintendo Wii- Emphasis on fun
Sony PS3 - Emphasis on next generation gaming and media hub (power, new technology, and convergence)
Microsoft 360 - Emphasis on trying to beat sony.

and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why the 360 will ultimatly be 3rd in this ‘console war’.
Dan x

Posted by spooky2k on May 13, 2006 at 1:40 PM (PDT)

19

blu ray, hd dvd, its the same.  however, these next generation drives are going to play huge roles in developing next generation games, isn’t the blu ray disk supposed to be around 54 GB each side? or something.. i mean that’s a lot of room for game developers to work with, and the fact that ps3 has one built in..  if you see it in $$$ perspective, you’re going to be spending that extra hundred or so dollars on that hd dvd drive that xbox360 needs to be added on, the way i see it the money spent evens out…

Posted by hallo on May 13, 2006 at 9:52 PM (PDT)

20

The ‘crazy’ high price is only that if one looks at it as strictly being a gaming console. Unfortunately for convergent-minded Sony that’s exactly how their Playstation followers and gamers are looking at the PS3. At both $500 and $600 price points, the reports have it that Sony is already taking a serious bath on both units, with the company underwriting the consumer subsidy for as much as $300 to $400 per unit, depending on who’s doing the reporting. That’s a LOT of game titles that Sony has to sell before even seeing any hope of black ink. Apparently re-inventing the wheel (the Cell) coupled with all-new tech capability (BluRay) has its monetary pitfalls.

Worse yet, the reports from E3 have been that the PS3’s exhibited performance really doesn’t seem to be any better than the 360; that doesn’t bode well for healthy future sales of the PS3 if that’s indeed the case. Doing a totally new CPU (and operating system) and incorporating BluRay to boot…I’d guess that Sony’s now probably regretting some of its decisions made over two years ago.

As for hi def media…who cares? How many people are really going to buy into doing BluRay and/or HD-DVD content over old standby DVD, anyways? I spent 20 minutes this weekend watching some goofy HD-DVD movie title on the $800 Toshiba player, displayed on a Pioneer Elite plasma…yes, it looked better than the DVD version, but it wasn’t THAT much better as to justify the current price differential in media and equipment. Even if BluRay out-of-the-box can do 1080p, there ultimately has to be a matching TV set to take advantage of it, and certainly you can’t do that with the cheaper core version of the PS3 regardless of your TV’s capability. And if you believe that the game publishers are going to take full advantage of the massive storage capacity of either format…have I got a bridge to sell you. That content cost MONEY to create; most gaming houses will on put enough stuff to make the game run properly and probably little more than promo clips. $50 or $60 retail for a gaming title isn’t enough cushion that massive amounts of extra content can be paid for.

When it comes to hi def capability, I think it’s MSFT and Nintendo that has it right. Why make hi def a manditory inclusion as Sony has when the available content may never EVER see the light of this laser.

As for the money evening out…the 360 is expected to drop in price by the time the PS3 and Wii are released. Plus MSFT will have shipped and sold at least 10 million units by then; that’s a not an insignificant installed userbase headstart that Redmond will have as a headstart. The early speculation has the Wii going for around $200 (according to several sites, including CNET)...maybe. With the 360 reportedly dropping to $300 for the premium system and the Wii’s price point, the PS3 has some serious $$$ image issues to deal with, regardless of bigger HD and BluRay. Most of the web buzz lately sees the PS3 as a gaming system, not a convergent device. $500 and especially $600 for the fully capable unit seems extremely out-of-touch with the rest of the market. Only hardcore gamers will be interested enough to buy, at least initially.

Posted by flatline response on May 15, 2006 at 2:26 AM (PDT)

21

spooky2k, how exactly does making a slightly improved version of your previous console qualify as advancing next-generation gaming? It’s more like Nintendo is the one working so hard to prove that motion sensing is the future, whereas Sony is trying to prove the fact that they’re price isn’t too much… a situtation that could’ve been easily remedied by not releasing it with such a large price.

Posted by Richie on May 27, 2006 at 12:12 PM (PDT)

22

Richie:
It doesn’t…which is why i write off the XBox 1.5…i mean, 360.

The PS3 is a jump forward in more than ‘slightly improved’ because of:
1- blu ray (HD)
2- motion sensing (whether they copied nintendo or not, its there, and thats a good thing)
3- Cell - a highly advanced next - gen chip.
4 - It can do everything the other conosles can do, and more. (though, i do admit, how well it does this remains to be seen).

Abotu the price: True. but meh…its £420 here in the UK. That’s £20.01 more than early 3G ipod adoptors payed for their ipods (£399.99). Yeah, its steep, but point is, there’s alot more expensive things out there that are doing well. To moan at the 420 price is jsut to say the other consoles are cheaper. If they didnt exist, no one woudl question the price.
Dan x

Posted by Dan/Spooky2k on May 29, 2006 at 1:07 AM (PDT)

23

also, just to say, i find it stupid that ppl compare ps3 price to the wii and 360 anyway. Wii is a completely different console, its liek comparing apples and oranges.
And the 360 has been out for a year, i bet when ps3 has been out for a eyar, it’ll be around what the 360 is now.
Dan x

Posted by Dan/Spooky2k on May 29, 2006 at 1:08 AM (PDT)

24

The thing is, 90% of the gaming population don’t give a #### about blu-ray or cell processing, they care about what games are on it.

Posted by Richie on June 12, 2006 at 11:10 PM (PDT)

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